I'm in two minds about this book. At the heart of it is a warm & enj...more**spoiler alert** Reviewed for www.bookchickcity.com (5 out of 10 on the blog)
I'm in two minds about this book. At the heart of it is a warm & enjoyable love story. But surrounding the story itself were a lot of circumstances that I struggled with.
This book is the thirteenth book in a series about the McKettrick family and within that series the third of a trilogy. The previous two books told the love stories of Austin's brothers Tate and Garrett. I picked up this book knowing I had not read any of the other books in the series, while there were inevitably parts I'd missed out on, I found it easy to pick up.
Austin is an arrogant and sexy rodeo star, but an accident has left his back permanently damaged & he can never ride again. The book opens up with Austin getting drunk in a bar before his two brothers come to rescue him and take him home to the family ranch to recuperate. But things aren't all that they seem at the ranch with cattle going missing and vandalism on the oil rigs. Austin finds himself in danger as he and his brothers try to find to get to bottom of their troubles.
This is where it gets slightly complicated. Tate and Garrett are both engaged to Libby and Julie who are also sisters and their third sister Paige is staying with them while her house is being renovated. Paige is temporarily out of work and also conveniently happens to be a nurse. So Tate and Garrett decide it will be a good idea to hire to help look after Austin. But, to add more complexity to the mix it turns out that Paige and Austin dated seriously in high school before Austin devastatingly broke her heart.
I really had to work at suspending my disbelief at the idea of three brothers falling in love with three sisters. But I tried to put it to the back of my mind and simply enjoy the love story.
Then there were the circumstances of Paige and Austin's past. They had both been very much in love. But, Austin unable to cope with the seriousness of the relationship cheated on Paige, as he didn't know how to tell her what he was feeling. As the book progresses it is very much put upon Paige to get over her past as though the resentment she carries towards Austin is unreasonable. That Austin did the best he could in the circumstances, given their young age & the fact she wanted too much, too fast from the relationship.
Quote: "I didn't know any other way to save either one of us."
I struggled to accept this as a legitimate excuse.
Thirdly was the mystery of the vandalism and violence occurring on the ranch. It added a nice edge of danger to the story which I enjoyed, but I didn't feel that the author went to any great lengths to conceal who the culprit was. When the finale came it was no real surprise as to who was responsible, there was no twist or turn or element of surprise which was disappointing.
Despite all this, if you could disregard the circumstances and the un-mysterious mystery, there was an enjoyable and engaging love story. Austin is charismatic, smouldering with a nice dash of pig-headedness that makes for a great hero. While Paige is intelligent, confident and the type of heroine I would normally engage with.
It could be that I would have enjoyed the book a lot more if I had read the previous two books in the trilogy. Maybe I would have identified better with the McKettrick family & characters. The love story was well written & enjoyable, but there were too many things wrong with the story to make it run smoothly. I have read other books by Linda Lael Miller and thoroughly enjoyed them, but this one unfortunately did not live up to those standards.(less)
'In Enemy Hands' was a little inconsistent for me. I swung between enjoying it and getting frustrated with the pace....moreReviewed for www.BookChickCity.com
'In Enemy Hands' was a little inconsistent for me. I swung between enjoying it and getting frustrated with the pace. Set in the future, Moon is a scientist working on a ground-breaking project to re-animate dead stars. But, most of the Galaxy is controlled by the brutal and uncompromising Republic where failure would mean death, or even worse exile.
Moon is assigned the extraordinarily clever Srin Flerovs as her research partner. So intelligent is Srin, that he is the equivalent of a human computer. But Moon soon discovers that the Republic's reign has no bounds. After they realised nearly twenty years ago that they could no longer control Srin, they began chemically erasing his memories every forty eight hours. And this has been his empty, cyclical life ever since.
The premise itself is a clever concept. Not the sci-fi setting or even the omnipotent dictatorship, but the way the Republic control Srin. It raised not only ethical issues, but added an interesting twist to the budding romance between him and Moon.
For a lot of the book I found Moon quite naive. For a very clever woman, she seems to miss a lot of what is going on around her. But she did have the endearing quality of wanting to always see the best in everyone and everything. But it was Srin that stole the story, from the complexity of his condition, to his switch between happy-go-lucky to brooding intelligence.
The sexual chemistry seemed to ebb and flow, building and then dissipating as though it was never there. I think this was because of Srin's disappearing memories. There was one scene that comes to mind with Moon. Now, how to put this delicately.... when she relieved her own sexual tension, *ahem*. I don't believe I'm a prude, but the whole thing seemed to come out of nowhere, there just wasn't enough budding sexual tension in the narrative to make it work and the whole scene made me cringe and quickly flick the page over.
There was a lot of scene setting in the book, details of Moon's past, the science experiment, her relationships with other members of the ship's crew and this did slow things down. Then came 'the great escape' which was crammed into a few chapters in the end.
However, the last few chapters did have lots of great pace and adventure, but unfortunately they were just too short. I wonder if this is the beginning of a new series, because there is no way the ending can be considered in any way a conclusion.
An inconsistent novel with promise. I did have a lot of problems with it, but for the most part I enjoyed the story. Srin was a fantastic, charismatic hero. But I wonder if this might have been a better novel focusing on his predicament, with the romance just being a small part of the story.(less)
I have been really enjoying Suzanne Johnson’s Sentinels of New Orleans series and after finishing River Road I had l...moreReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
I have been really enjoying Suzanne Johnson’s Sentinels of New Orleans series and after finishing River Road I had lots of anticipation about where the story would go. Elysian Fields takes off pretty much where River Road left us. Alex is no longer DJ’s partner and she is the solo Sentinel for New Orleans, leaving the door wide open for a potential romantic relationship. DJ and Alex are still worried about how Jake is coping with his transition to a Loup Garou, Jean Lafitte is still as crazy as he ever was and I was pleased to see merman Rene make a reappearance.
This time DJ is on the trail of a psycho axe murderer brought back for the dead. Add in the complication that her Elven heritage is now public knowledge, she’s also been ordered to train with Adrian, a wizard she can’t abide, then there’s the fact it would seem the very murderer she is trying to track down has been sent to kill her. As usual DJ’s life is more than a little bit of a hurricane the like of which New Orleans is still recovering from.
In Elysian Fields we start to learn a lot more about the Elven world and how it’s ruled as DJ becomes more and more sucked into it. The mystery surrounding her slightly strange neighbour Rand is revealed and the more I learn I really don’t like him! The main story evolves around the murder plot as DJ tries to work out who is trying to kill her, which also leads to some great action scenes. I find DJ’s solution to problems and crazy elf staff magic issues immensely humorous.
Unlike others, I’ve never been a huge fan of Jean Lafitte, but he really grew on me in Elysian Fields. His humour and sense of chivalry, he was seriously fabulous in this book. Jake’s a complete wildcard, there’s a big change for him and I’m really interested as to where Johnson is going to take his character. Alex is no longer officially DJ’s partner, but that’s just on paper and he and Gandalf still manage to rescue her from her various situations and *ahem* fires.
We finally get some major developments in DJ’s love life, 3 books in and it’s about time . And I have to say this is the part of the book where I felt a little bit letdown. It’s been building for ages and ages, the chemistry, the love triangle or is it a square or even a pentagon? Then after some angst between DJ and the suitor (I’m trying very hard not to slip who it is here!) decide to take things forward and then said suitor has second thoughts. I mean, are you kidding me?! Let’s not forget the five year gap between books one and two, they’ve had plenty of time to think about it! It really frustrated me and if I’m honest killed some of the chemistry for a while.
The romance did pick up and improve towards the end of the book and I did enjoy it, but I felt like the dip took away from the yummy at least, squee feeling you get normally when a couple you’ve wanted to see together after the author has made you wait for quite a while.
Elysian Fields changes the pace of the books and Johnson really moves the plot on, opening up the larger plot for significant development for DJ, these developments are really exciting and could mean some series life changing implications for her. This in itself really makes me want to read the next one.
One last thing, I never did work out why the book was called Elysian Fields? Did I just simply miss it?
I am most definitely still very much enjoying this series, but this book dipped slightly in the middle for me. Not enough to ruin my enjoyment, but it did mean it didn't rate quite as highly as books one and two. The bigger plot developments however bode well for the series, I just hope DJ’s love life doesn’t get too messy.
I think Lick may very well find its way onto the my favourite books of 2013 list. If the next book had been already out, I would have bought it immediately. I loved it, I loved Ev and David and I loved Scott’s writing style. The story was sweet, romantic, endearing and sexy. Who wouldn’t want to fall in love with a rock star? I would highly recommend it. (less)
The Outlaw of Cedar Ridge begins slightly unusually after the hero and heroine have been married for five years. Ove...moreReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
The Outlaw of Cedar Ridge begins slightly unusually after the hero and heroine have been married for five years. Overcoming a terrible tragedy, their marriage has hit the point of make of break. With them both struggling to overcome their grief in their own way, but in a way that is destroying their relationship. Ben has descended into gambling and drinking, and Evie can no longer tolerate the lies and heartbreak.
As the story begins, as the reader you wonder where it’s going to go. Can the hero and heroine come back from their painful situation and get a happy ever after, because despite the obvious heartbreak between them you can also still see the love. Of course fate (or creative author), never fails to deliver and in a twist we see Ben attacked and very badly injured and as a consequence he loses his memory. The last thing he remembers was over five years ago, he doesn’t remember Evie and he doesn’t remember being married. All of a sudden, Evie is faced with the man she originally fell in love with.
The loss of memory works really well as a twist in the plot, because not only does it allow for our hero and heroine to fall in love again. But, it also adds a sense of mystery to the plot. What did Ben get up to during his gambling and drinking times? Actions that also created lots of enemies for the couple.
The title itself is a bit misleading. Unless I missed something, I don’t really think that Ben is an ‘outlaw’. Yes, he’s done a lot of bad things, bad things that have quite a few repercussions. But I was kind of expecting him to be a bit of a wild, gun-slinging bad-ass cowboy and he really wasn’t that at all.
The story itself is about new beginnings and I did enjoy watching Ben and Evie’s relationship slowly change as the novel progressed. Ben was a completely different character after his amnesia and is a really sweet, kind man. Evie is quite sharp with Ben and has to overcome many obstacles to learn to trust him again. She did irritate me on occasion, but I guess if Ben was my husband I would feel the same way. The chemistry however, was lovely, I got a real sense that their love was the result of love at first sight and it was enjoyable to watch them fall for each other again.
The action in the plot comes in the form of some unsavoury characters from Ben’s past. And there is actually plenty of action to keep the plot moving and interesting. The story takes part over the course of a journey as Evie and Ben move towns in order to make a fresh start. I’m not necessarily a huge fan of journey stories and I was glad when they finally arrived and moved out of that wagon!
The part of the book that I felt let it down was the ending. I felt that it left far too many unanswered questions, particularly about Ben’s amnesia for my liking. I have seen that this book is part of a trilogy, so maybe the author will progress this in subsequent books, I’m not sure if other books will tackle different heroes? But, I did feel a bit like I wanted more from it than I was given.
A good book and certainly a good debut book from Lori Connelly. I enjoyed Evie and Ben’s story of new beginnings and watch them fall in love all over again. There were a few niggles with the story itself, in particular the ending, but I would still recommend it as a warm, romantic read. Plus, you know.. Sexy cowboys ;-)